It’s March and springtime is just about here! The sun is shining, little buds are forming on the trees, and the birds are chirping. AND we’re all stuck in our houses because of this dang coronavirus outbreak! I’ll be honest, my 3 kiddos aren’t school-aged yet, so we spend a lot of time “social distancing” anyway. But we since we can’t stay on our normal routine, I decided to make a list of fun activities for them and today I’m sharing it with you!
What I’ve found is that most of the activities can be really simple. Kids, especially younger kids, don’t need complex activity so much as they do directed activity. So by designating a specific time and activity, they are more entertained than they would have been coming up with it themselves. Plus they’re having fun taking turns randomly drawing from the list. So for added fun, write your activities on small scraps of paper and let the kiddos draw from a bowl!
1. Go on a Hike! (And Collect Sticks)
My kiddos love this one. We’re fortunate to have a hiking trail not far from our house. My husband will usually take the boys on “an adventure” where they basically go on a long walk and find cool sticks. I’m a little less confident climbing the hills by myself with two little boys and the baby on my back, so I usually just take them on a walk around the neighborhood. Collect cool sticks along the way and bring them home with you. You can use them for other activities!
2. Ultimate Blanket Fort
Every kid likes to build blanket forts! I think most adults even appreciate a good fort. When we building “Ulimate Forts” we get all the blankets in the house together. I’m talking off all the beds, and all the linen closets. And we build the biggest fort we can! You might even consider setting up an iPad in there once the fun is over and having a little movie session.
PS…Another fun version of this is a house-wide session of “The Floor is Lava”
3. Sensory Bins
I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t love sensory bins. They’re kinda messy and require some preplanned set-up on my part. But they’re a great learning activity for your preschoolers. If you’re not familiar with a sensory bin, its essentially a container filled with a substance to stimulate the senses. For example, it might be filled with uncooked rice, dry beans, bird seed, kinetic sand, water, or (my my boys favorite) water beads. Then you hide little toys and objects in it for the kids to search for. Like I said, it’s a little labor-intensive for the lazy parent, aka me, but I have a huge container of water beads in the cabinet, so we’ll be doing this one soon.
4. Digging in the Dirt
This is a great alternative to the sensory bins. Dirt pile: nature’s sensory bin. If you’re like me, you probably already have a section of the yard that the kids have turned into a dirt pile. I just give them their beach buckets and shovels and let them go to town. You’d be surprised well this activity goes with little kids.
5. Rock Painting
This one is a two-for-one deal. First of all, you’ll need to go find some rocks! So the kiddos get to go on a rock hunting adventure. Nice smooth, flat ones are the best for painting. Next, if you don’t already have them on hand, you will need some acrylic paints. Paint pens are a really cool alternative as well. Sam of Color Made Happy actually specializes in rock painting. Click that link to check out her blog. Or head over to her Instagram page for some rock painting inspiration and other fun craft ideas!
6. Plant Seedlings
I picked up a couple packets of vegetable seeds before things got crazy. I saved my egg cartons for a few weeks so that we could plant the seedlings in the cartons. If they’re the standard cardboard egg crates, you can plant a seed in each of the holes and then cut them apart when its time to plant them in dirt. If your have plastic containers, place your empty eggshells back in the holes, then plant the seedlings in each dirt-filled shell. The entire shell can go into the ground when ready. Then, of course, rinse and recycle your plastic.
My boys scooped with dirt into each compartment with spoons. Then they placed a seed (or five…doing this with a 3 year old has varied results) in each spot. Hopefully they all sprout, but at least some of them surely will.
7. Indoor Easter Egg Hunt
We actually do this all the time around Easter. I save my plastic eggs and reuse them the next year. Sometimes I just pull that bag out and we hide the eggs and hunt them just for fun. We usually do this when we need an indoor activity because of the weather, but it would be just as fun outside.
Hopefully you all have plenty of food supplies at home. Use up a little of that flour for something fun. Make cookies or treats! Or bake some bread or muffins and freeze them for later! My kids love helping in the kitchen, even if I don’t really enjoy it that much. This would be great for older kids, but the little ones love to help stir and pour too.
9. Kid’s Crafts Extravaganza
Grab some construction paper, glue sticks, and safety scissors and make all those ridiculous kids crafts you see on Pinterest. Paper chains? Yes! Hand cut-outs turned into a bouquet? Happy Mother’s Day, Grandma! Rainbow unicorn dinosaur hybrid? Let’s do it! My kids don’t get scissors often, so their favorite craft is “Snip all the paper into confetti”.
10. Watercolor Painting
I know that not everyone has watercolors handy, but there’s always Amazon, am I right?! I love my kids watercolor art pieces, and I actually framed several of them for the “Wall of Scribbles” as my husband so fondly referred to it. PS..You can find the post about their Gallery Art Wall here. Plus watercolor painting is fairly easy for younger kiddos and also fairly easy to clean up since the paint is water-based.
11. Spring Cleaning Fashion Show
I’m long overdue for cleaning out my kids drawers. Being stuck at home for an indeterminate amount of time seems like the perfect time to spring clean a bit. So host a fashion show and let your kids try on all their clothes, aka check their drawers for high waters and belly shirts. And if they aren’t really digging changing clothes a bunch of times, just set them to work on sorting out old toys that they don’t play with. Usually when we’re doing focused cleaning, there’s chocolate chip bribes involved (wink, wink).
12. Write Letter to Friends & Family
Now would be a great time to catch on your correspondence. Lol, just kidding, I know its all email these days. But everyone likes getting fun mail. Let your kiddos write letters (or draw pictures for the younger ones) for their friends or socially-distanced grandparents. You can even top in a little of that leftover extravaganza confetti from Number 9 for a some extra pizazz. Everybody loves a wow-factor, right?!
13. Board Game Tournament
Or in my case, that would be just play Candy Land a bunch of times. We have several boards games, but my kids are too young for most of them. But this is a great family activity for older kids who can actually read. Go through your whole collection of games and see who wins each. You can even get really intense and put up a stat board with winners from each game.
14. Make a Wall-Hanger
Remember those sticks you brought home from Number 1? Let’s put them to good use! One option is to take a nice wide one and drill some holes in the bottom. You can grab some cup hooks and screw them into the drilled holes. Tie some yarn or twine to the ends and you have nice rustic jewelry holder or key ring.
Or if you have yarn or yarn scraps, organize them by color and tie them onto the stick to make some fun wall art. For a quick, simple tutorial on this click here!
15. Learn Something New
The internet is a great source of free tutorials, especially Youtube. If you don’t already crochet, I will shamelessly suggest learning how to crochet with your kiddos. Or maybe try your hand at knitting or hand-carving. Maybe your kids are interested in photography or videography. Look for some kid-friendly free classes or tutorials, and learn with them!
16. Read-Aloud Storytime
My mom used to do this when we were younger. She would pick a chapter book and read the story aloud. I actually used this technique to get the girls to calm down and go to sleep on a middle-school campout once too. It works best with a new chapter book that your kids haven’t read yet. But if you have pre-schoolers, just taking turns picking out which book to read next will likely keep them happy.
17. Cage Fight
Last one standing gets all the ice cream in the house! Just kidding…or am I?
I hope you enjoyed this list of activities. I will try to come and add things to it and we try out new activities. And be sure to follow me on Instagram @craftingforweeks because we’ve been cataloguing some our activities in stories. And of course, if you have some ideas of your own, add them in the comments below. Stay safe out there friends, and Happy Crafting!